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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Anxiety, Fear And The Future

"Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength."
Charles Spurgeon

I mentioned in my last post that my birthday week had been a bit strange for me. I didn't feel ready to fully go into what happened when I made my last post, and I wanted my birthday entry to be about the fun things I did. Plus, it was a long enough post without the not so good stuff that happened. Don't get me wrong, nothing actually bad happened. And I have to keep reminding myself of that. I mean it felt bad, and it wasn't nice to go through. But I have to remember that it was all in my head, or else I run the risk of slipping back into the negative way of thinking that crept up on me out of nowhere.

If you've read much of my blog you'll know I always try and be positive. I talk a lot about acceptance of things you cannot change, and looking on the bright side. I would go as far as to say one of my best qualities is finding the bright side of most things. I never say being happy is just that easy, but it's how I try and live my life. As I've said before though, I'm not perfect. I also go through dark patches, much like everyone else. It's impossible to be happy 100% of the time, and sometimes the choice is almost taken out of your hands. The brain is a very powerful, but faulty piece of equipment and no matter how much we want to feel a certain way or rationally know we should, our brains don't always cooperate.

That in mind, this story goes back to the week before my birthday. I think I mentioned in one of my entries that I got a letter explaining what they were attempting to diagnose with the blood samples they took a few weeks ago. At the appointment I had had trouble hearing the doctor, so I was a little relieved when I got the letter. It said the reduction in collagen 6 seen in the muscle biopsy was in keeping with Bethlam myopathy. Against my better judgement I started Googling the relevant forms of Muscular Dystrophy, and came across one that sounded very like my own. I mean a lot of them are very similar to each other anyway. I got to the bottom of the fact sheet and it said the typical life span for someone with this particular form was 40 to 50 years.

Now, I've always had a strange relationship with death. I've never really been afraid of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm afraid of how I might die, but death itself never really bothered me. I'm not religious, so I'm not afraid I'm going to burn for all eternity or something. I believe when it's over, it's over. Why fear oblivion? Still, when I read that little bit of info I felt this small sting of fear. Suddenly 40 and 50 seemed so close. I shrugged it off after a little bit and rationalised it. I mean I haven't actually been diagnosed with that form and even if I did have it, medicine could have advanced a lot between now and then, and what's more... I could go out and get hit by a bus tomorrow. I knew there was no point worrying about what ifs. After that I kind of forgot about it for a couple of days.

Thursday (17th April) was a pretty normal day. I don't really remember what I did, I think I just relaxed. Before going to bed, Eva and I watched a bunch of YouTube videos. I felt fine and around 1am she helped me to bed. A little while later I was scrolling through Tumblr or something on my phone while I lay there and thoughts about what I'd read started to creep in again. My biggest fears for the future are that my breathing would get a lot worse (to the point I'd need a trachy) and lately that my swallow would get a lot worse. As I lay in bed I randomly thought 'if I was to suddenly stop breathing, would my bipap keep me breathing' and then as I became very aware of my breathing I started to think 'how do I know I'm actually breathing myself right now'. It didn't help that I'd been reading It's Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini and it mentions Ondine's curse, explaining it as a condition where a person must consciously breathe or else they'll stop breathing. An obviously very irrational train of thought was forming, and I started to think if I didn't think about my breathing that I might stop. Suddenly I started to feel sick and I felt panicky. I realised I was being very irrational and took some deep breaths and started to feel better. I even tweeted about it.

I thought I was fine and then around ten or fifteen minutes later everything came rushing back. I started feeling very sick, and my heart was racing. When I swallowed my throat just felt wrong, and I felt like I couldn't breathe again. My skin felt numb to touch. Particularly my arms, my lips and my throat. I felt like I didn't know what to do with my tongue, like I was going to choke on it. I was completely frantic. I'd never been so scared in my life. It was around 2am by now and everyone was in bed. I phoned my mum and she came in. I started shouting there was something wrong and I needed to get up. She called my dad and they got me on to the edge of my bed. Eva ended up hearing the commotion and got up too. I just kept repeating 'there's something really wrong, there's something really wrong. I can't breathe and I'm all numb'. I'm really not a very dramatic person, and put off going to doctors as long as I can usually. But I really felt like I was going to die, as silly as that sounds. I started telling my parents I needed to go to the hospital, that everything just felt wrong. I felt hyper aware of every function of my body, and at the same time felt like it was all just going to stop working. My parents checked my oxygen levels and they were down to 81 and they usually sit around 97 or so. My heart rate was around 130 to 140. Because of my levels my mum rang the emergency doctor, who said to ring an ambulance. My dad thought we were overreacting, but in that moment it all felt so serious. In hindsight, I think my levels read so low because I was shaking and my hands were cold, because when we read them again ten or so minutes later they were up to around 96. My heart was still racing though. I told my parents to give me a little time before phoning an ambulance, because I started to rationalise things again and realised it was probably a panic attack. At the peak of it, all rational thought went out the window and I really felt like I'd lost control of everything. My parents started to get a bit snappy with each other, and so I asked them to leave me alone with my sister. Even after I had accepted it was a panic attack, the physical symptoms still persisted. I still felt hyper aware of everything. My skin still felt wrong, as did my swallow and I still felt like I might choke on my tongue. My heart was still racing at around 130. I was sitting in my wheelchair and alternating between breathing myself and using my mask, trying to calm myself down. I started repeating to myself 'I'm alright, I have control of everything. I'm not sick. It was just a panic attack', basically trying to convince myself, because it was kind of a vicious circle. In my irrational state I was scared I was sick because of my disability, and the fear of that was causing the physical symptoms I was feeling that made me think I was sick. Although I had calmed down some, now and then everything would spike up again, especially when someone asked me how I was feeling.

Eventually everything calmed down enough for me to feel okay for my parents to go to bed. Eva stayed up with me for a while, and then when I finally decided to try bed again, she lay on some cushions on the floor so I wasn't by myself. When I was in bed again the panic started bubbling up again. I felt like if I went to sleep, I might choke on my tongue or stop breathing. I knew it was irrational, but the problem with irrational fears is they don't always listen to reason. Especially when your body starts reacting to them physically. I couldn't stay in bed and ended up getting up again. I tried to relax for the next few hours and by 7am I was so tired, I decided to try bed again. By now Eva was sleeping in my bed and I asked her to stay in beside. For a while as I drifted off, I kept jolting awake. Like I couldn't let my body relax for some reason. Eventually I did drift off though.

We were supposed to be going to the Ark Farm that day and we woke up around noon. I decided to see how I felt after breakfast and a shower, because I still felt anxious. I had trouble eating because my swallow still felt weird, like I was still afraid of choking. I did my best with breakfast, and then I had another mini panic attack while I was in the shower. The farm went well, and it distracted me from my anxiety for a good part of the day. It wasn't until we went in for food that I started to feel anxious again. Later that night I had another melt down before I was going into bed. The anxiety was bubbling the whole time, but eating and going to bed were the things that triggered the proper panic attacks. On Saturday night my dad had to read to me when I got into bed, because I had another one and didn't want to be by myself. It's almost amazing the physical symptoms they can give you. Despite not actually having choked since it all started, I was convinced I was going to choke every time I ate or even on my tongue if I didn't concentrate on not choking on it. And this was well after I knew it was a panic attack.

After a few days the physical symptoms had died down a lot. I still felt anxious, but it started to manifest itself in a bit more of a depressive way than in panic. I think this was because I realised why the panic attacks had happened. I was afraid of what I might have to go through with my disability in the future, and that had caused the physical symptoms now. Now I knew I was fine right now, but I was still afraid of the future. In a way it felt like I was grieving. That's the best way I can explain it. Like I was grieving for what future me might have to go through. Which is just ridiculous. Most of all I was scared of having to go through painful things, and I guess seeing the life expectancy made those possible things seem so much closer. Rationally I still knew that it was silly, because nobody can predict the future for anyone and everyone goes through pain. I've been through pain, and I made it out the other side. Even so, I couldn't talk myself out of being afraid. I even started to be afraid of dying, being afraid of knowing I'm dying and not wanting to leave my family behind. Feeling like I hadn't done enough with my sisters, or having regrets. I even thought about what fun things I might miss out on with my sisters, their kids and such. I thought a lot about Eva and leaving her behind. I mean I thought about all my family, but mine and Eva's lives have always been so tied up with each other. I can't fully explain what I mean in relation to that. I was just in a really dark and negative place. And as silly as I felt for thinking like that, I couldn't help it. I tried to keep busy, and the zoo made for a good distraction and being out with the family. But when I wasn't busy I went into myself. On Tuesday night everything just kind of exploded emotionally. My mum found me crying and she, my dad and I ended up having a big talk and I opened up about all the things I'd bottled up. They basically said all the things I had been telling myself. There's no point worrying about what ifs. None of us know what the future holds, and you can't let fear about the future ruin now. After the long talk I felt somewhat better. The next day my aunt Heather visited and my mum kind of told her what had happened and when we were talking about it when my mum left the room, I kind of broke down again. It was weird for me, because I barely cry in front of my parents never mind my aunt. My aunt said something that stuck with me. She said,

"we're all just living day to day."

And even though it was basically a variant of what my parents had said or even I had told myself, putting it like that really resonated with me. We really are.

On Wednesday I went to the doctor, and he was brilliant. I was supposed to go about my face, but it had cleared up and I thought I'd use it to talk about my anxiety as it was still bubbling away. During the panic attacks my acid reflux had got a lot worse, because I wasn't eating for fear of choking. So I also needed anti-acids. I talked things out with him and a 10 minute appointment slot became about 25 minutes. Mostly him talking things out, not trying to rush me out. We spoke about me being diagnosed, my fears about my swallow and me moving out in the future. I think basically everything just got on top of me. He told me what I rationally knew anyway, that when it comes to MD it's a very wide spectrum and while there are some very mild cases and some very severe, most people fall somewhere in the middle. And nobody could predict where I would fall, and there was no point worrying about that. I realised over the course of the panic attacks that maybe my swallow isn't as bad as I've been thinking. I'm starting to think anxiety has been playing a big part in me choking. I haven't actually choked as much since I realised that maybe my fear of choking was what made me feel like I was choking. My doctor suggested some of the anxiety could be linked to the big changes happening in my life, whether I fully realise it or not. And I guess he's right. He didn't put me on anything for the anxiety, and I was glad. I don't think I wanted that. I guess all I wanted was reassurance.

After the panic attacks I was worried that moving out might be a bad idea, I stopped doing so much for myself too. It was like a big step back from how well I'd been doing. Everything just made me anxious, even thinking about posting on my blog. In the last couple of days I've started trying to get properly back to where I was. I still feel anxious, and even as I write this I can feel it. I still feel like a panic attack could pop up at any minute, but I know the important thing is recognising that it is just a panic attack. It can't hurt me, and I am in control. I've almost had them a few times while I've been out, and that is something I don't want to get into the habit of. I don't want to feel like I'm afraid of leaving the house in case I have one. So right now I'm powering through. I don't feel sad anymore though, which is good. Obviously I still have my fears about the future but I just remember what my aunt said when I feel like they're driving the anxiety. I remind myself that I'm not the only person to ever go through any of this, and I'm a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. I can handle whatever comes my way, because that is life. Either way, today is what is important. No day, but today. But yes, if there's anything I've learned through all of this it's this:

"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."
Dale Carnegie

Also, a shout out to Eva.
She was a big help getting me back on track. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Long Time, No Post. Birthday Update!

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"
Satchel Paige

It's been a while since I posted. About eleven days, and I think that's the longest I've gone without posting since I started this blog. I would love to say it's all down to the fact I was too busy with my birthday celebrations and Easter festivities, but there's a little bit more too it than that. It's been quite a strange week for me. A real roller-coaster of emotions. Nothing properly serious happened, it was all mostly in my head. As much as I try to be positive and accept things, we all have our dark moments and I guess I let things get the better of me. That being said, I don't fully feel ready to go into what happened yet as I'm not fully over it all, and so I'm just going to keep this post about the good things that happened this week. Like my trip to the local Ark Open Farm for my birthday, and our trip to Belfast Zoo for Easter! So get ready for a lot of photos of animals!

I will go into the other stuff that happened at some point, maybe tomorrow or maybe in a few days. Just basically when it all feels a little less raw. Now that I'm building up this suspense, when I finally do talk about it, it's going to be a real anticlimax! Oh well.

So yeah, we went to the Ark Open Farm for my birthday on Friday 18th of April. I turned 24! I fully cannot believe I'm almost a quarter of a century old... Well, my birthday wasn't actually until Sunday the 20th of April, but my dad didn't want to go to the farm on Saturday because he'd have to miss golf. And we were already doing family stuff on my actual birthday because it was also Easter Sunday. I used to love going to the Ark Farm as a kid, and the last few years it's been tradition to go there for my birthday. I love a tradition, especially traditions that involve petting animals! My mum couldn't come with us because she had work, but my dad and my sister Eva were off for Easter. My aunt Karen was off too because she's a teacher, so she came along and as a last minute surprise my granny tagged along. It was nice having her come with us because she's not been very well. Her memory is really bad now, and she kind of acts a bit like a child sometimes. She can't really walk anymore either, so she has to use a wheelchair and therefore doesn't get out very often. She really enjoyed being out and all.

At this point I wasn't feeling great, and we weren't sure if we were going to go. We ended up going a bit later than we'd planned, but I was really glad we went because it got my mind off things for a while. It was a really lovely day and even though the animals have basically been the same since I was a kid, I always really enjoy myself. My favourites are the goats. Especially the kids! And now for photos:

As you can see, I really favoured the goats. I would love to own one. These aren't even all the photos I took of them. Another of my favourites is the little guy below. It's a rubbish photo of him, but he's called Shaun. There didn't used to be this grill thing over the door of his pen, and he used to love nomming on my wheelchair. I love horses, but especially miniatures. There's a video of me when I'm four or five at this farm and back then the miniature horse I was obsessed with was called Macaroni. I had pretty much decided I was going to buy Macaroni at some point. Little Shaun reminds me of Macaroni, he's even in the same pen.

So yeah, the farm was really awesome. Probably not every 24 year old's idea of a great way to celebrate their birthday, but I guess I'm not every 24 year old. Nothing makes me happier than spending time around animals, preferably animals you can pet. 

On Saturday we just had a chill day. I wasn't really feeling great, so I decided to just rest since we would be out on Sunday again. Like I said, Easter Sunday was my actual birthday. Since I still wasn't feeling well, we kind of took our time getting ready. Before we went out I opened my presents. Well, I'd actually opened my new shoes my sister Jann got me and her card a few days before. I wore them to the farm, the rest I opened on my actual birthday.

My present and card from my older sister Jann. She always picks the nicest cards, and I was so happy with my shoes.

This is the card envelope from my sister Eva. I dunno why I didn't take a photo of the actual card. And this is the dinosaur figure she got me. I had asked for the dinosaur, and was so excited to get it. It's going to sit on my desk once I tidy it. She also got me blue paper cups and plates, because blue is my colour! 

This is my presents altogether. Aside from what my sisters got me, I asked the rest of my family for money to put towards a ring I really wanted. Also below is my birthday cake my mum made me. It was so super tasty! It was chocolate.

Eva had asked could we go to Belfast Zoo and even though my parents weren't too keen at first because its usually packed on Easter, they agreed. We left around 3pm and by that time a lot of the Easter crowd had been and gone. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of people and a good atmosphere. It just wasn't completely choc-a-block. It was lovely weather too, which always helps. A lot of the animals were out. Another reason my parents aren't fond of Belfast Zoo is because it's basically on the side of a mountain. Okay, technically it's not a mountain... it's called Cavehill. Still, there's some quite steep bits when you're walking to the highest point of the zoo and walking it is pretty tiring. Or so I'm told. My parents always remember back to when I used to go in my manual wheelchair as a kid and my dad would have to push me, and how much of a struggle it was. I was glad I was in my electric wheelchair this time, but felt sorry for all the people pushing their children's prams and buggies. 

I didn't like the zoo for a long time. The animals always looked a bit depressed, especially on cold rainy days. And lets be honest, this is Northern Ireland. There's a lot of cold rainy days. Also most of the time the animals were nowhere to be seen. Not that I can blame them for hiding. That being said, I don't know if it was just a particularly good day or something, but there was a nicer atmosphere. And the animal enclosures seemed a lot better. Here's some of my favourite photos I took:

The obligatory 'before leaving the house' selfie. As you can see (even with the filter) my face has cleared up loads! Doublebase gel works wonders. 

This is where my grand parents used to go for dances back in the day. It's fallen into disrepair since it was closed, but it's a listed building. They've been meaning to refurbish it for a long time, but the council has never given any funding for it. I really hope it gets fixed up some day.

I think overall the lions were my favourite. They're one of the animals that were usually hiding when I've gone before. Or at least too far away to properly see. It was amazing seeing them up this close. It's incredible how much they're just like giant versions of house cats. I freaked my mum out because when I was getting into position to get a photo beside them, my wheelchair scraped along the window sill and made a noise that kind of sounded like a lion's roar. The main lioness you can see in the photo was really intrigued by me after that, and wouldn't take her eyes off me. Even when I moved away she kept her eyes on me, peering around the edge of the window frame. It reminded me so much of when my cat's Effy and Findlay see a bird outside or something. But yeah, I think they were my favourite. Such beautiful and incredible animals. Another of my favourites was the sea lion. I'm usually too scared to go to the underwater window. It freaks me out, but as we walked passed a sea lion swam by. It stopped and looked at us and seemed really interested in us. Then it swam away and came back with a leaf. 

So yeah, it was a really amazing day and a great way to spend my birthday and Easter. I really enjoyed seeing all the animals. I find it so sad that so many of them are endangered. They're so incredible and beautiful. Humans have a lot to answer for. And as much as I find them being in captivity depressing sometimes, I really hope seeing how amazing they are encourages people to think about wildlife more and donate to conservation efforts etc. Though that might be more wishful thinking, more than anything. 

By the time we got around the zoo, it was almost time for the souvenir shop to close. Luckily we got there JUST in time. I love getting a little keepsake on special days out, and we missed the chance to at the farm. I got Eva and myself a bug each. Mine is shaped as a chimpanzee, and Eva's is the same of a tiger. We also got a chocolate lolly each, and I bought myself the blue bracelet below. Bracelets are my favourite keepsake, even if it's hard to get them to fit my tiny little wrists!

I was pretty busy the rest of the week too. I made a point to be, because I wanted to keep my mind off things. On Monday we hadn't planned to do anything because Eva started training for her new job, but my mum, dad and I ended up walking into town. Which turned out to be a mistake. It was so packed. We walked back home and then picked Eva up when she was finished, then went for a drive to get fish and chips. Which turned out to be another mistake, as we had to try a bunch of different chip shops because they were all so busy. We drove to two different towns, just to drive back to our own to get them. Tuesday we had a rest day, then on Wednesday I had a doctors appointment. More on that next time though. On Thursday my aunt Karen and I went for lunch since she was still off school and then on Friday I went for coffee with my aunt Heather. I've never actually been out with her before, so it was nice. My mum didn't feel good leaving me on my own after how I'd been the rest of the week, and I thought it might be good to go out with someone a little less familiar. A confidence booster I guess. Plus I didn't really want to be on my own the whole day. Yesterday my sister and I had an impromptu visit to Belfast because we had to find her a dress for my cousin's wedding. The one she had got needed to be sent back because it didn't fit her. It was a nice little shopping trip, and I didn't even get a migraine like I usually do when I go to Belfast. We even headed out last night for a drink after, though ended up coming home early. Somewhat because I didn't really feel like I could drink because I hadn't ate much and felt a little sick, and partly because Eva's friends had invited her out and I thought she'd have more fun with them. After a very busy week, today was a rest day. My aunt Karen visited as usual, but other than that I spent most of today on my laptop singing along to music and trying to finish this giant blog entry!

I've really enjoyed getting out more, and I've been finding I've been sleeping a lot better. I'm going to try and keep it up. I also need to start trying to go out by myself, just for walks now and then. Build up my confidence.

But yeah, this has been all the high points of the week. Ideally I would have had this broken up into smaller posts, but I just really wasn't up to writing. Sometimes when I don't feel great emotionally, I really feel like I need to unload and writing really helps. However when I'm at my worst, I completely go into myself and even the thought of starting to write about it freaks me out. I'm feeling a lot better now though, so hopefully from now on it will be business as usual.

Hope everyone had a good Easter!
Or just a good week, if you don't celebrate Easter.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Rocking My Face-Triangle

"You're in pretty good shape
for the shape you are in."
Dr. Seuss

I was supposed to cover this in my last blog entry, but I kind of ended up writing more than I planned to and I felt like it was a little much including this too.

As I've mentioned before, I have Sleep Apnoea and therefore use a ventilator at night called a BiPAP. It stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. Basically when I was twelve, I was tired a lot. To the point I was almost passing out in class. My mum noticed I seemed to be having a pause in my breathing while I was asleep. She really does notice everything! I remember waking up during the night and looking over my shoulder to find my mum and a man I'd never met before watching me sleep. Turned out he was an on call doctor she'd got to come and see what she'd noticed. To be honest, apart from the fact I was very tired and such, I didn't notice anything. Eventually I was taken into hospital and they did sleep studies etc, and at first tried me on a CPAP. It didn't work for me, and they then put me on a BiPAP and I've used one ever since. This year I'll have needed it as many years as I didn't need it. Gosh, the years have flown in.

I only require it at night when I'm sleeping, or when I'm lying down. I used to also need it in the car for long journeys, but I don't now that I sit in my wheelchair in the car, most of the time. I would also need it if I were to fly in a plane. We learned that the hard way, and I haven't flown since. I don't think I've slept without it since, apart from maybe a one or two short naps with my ex. I never remember feeling like I needed it when I was lying down before I started using it, but I guess maybe my chest muscles have wasted since I started using it and that's why I rely more on it now when I lie down. Sometimes I can lay for a while without it if I don't think about it too much. Though most of the time it's just more comfortable and less effort to wear it.

I have to say out of everything related to my disability, I probably get people asking me about things to do with having Sleep Apnoea or using a BiPAP most. I get a lot of people who maybe have just started out wearing one asking me how I coped and such. Or asking if I have any advice on which masks are best etc. I also get a lot of people who say they don't ever think they'll get used to it, or that it must have been easier for me because I was so young.

When it comes to coping with it all, my answer is always the same and what I say about most things in life. Acceptance goes a long way. Which I'd never say is easy by any means, and it definitely takes practice. But I think like anything, once you stop fighting it or hating it, things get easier. What's more, you need to look at the positives of how it's helping you. I mean I could be annoyed I have to have a mask strapped to my face, look highly unattractive, leaves my face with red marks or I could look at the positives. I don't wake up with blinding headaches, I can actually stay awake during the day and oh yeah.. I keep breathing through the night!  I know this is the kind of advice that most people would reply 'it's easy for you to say' or 'easier said than done' to. It might seem like it's easy for me to say twelve years later that you just need to persevere, but the reality is, at least for someone like me... there's not really any other choice. So you have to make the best out of a less than ideal situation. Adapting to something new is never easy, but it's amazing what you can get used to when you believe that you can.

When it comes to masks and comfort, it's never going to be perfect. There have been pros and cons to all the masks I've worn. I couldn't even name all the masks I've tried. Everything from over the nose, to over the nose and mouth, to... this bad boy.

It reminds me of the masks from Avatar.

Admittedly that one, I wasn't open to getting used to. My first thought was... I can NEVER wear this in front of a guy. I guess there's an acceptable mask line for wearing in front of the opposite sex, and for me that mask crossed it. Luckily my cheek bones felt like daggers trying to pierce through my skin when I wore it, so I couldn't stick it a whole night. It almost bruised my cheeks. My face isn't very fleshy. I was trying it because the mask I'd been using had been cutting into my nose, so I didn't see the point in swapping for a mask I liked less, that just cut into another part of my face instead. Anyway, basically you have to find the mask that is the least uncomfortable. And what's comfortable for me or anyone else won't necessarily be comfortable for another person. The mask I use now is the FlexiFit 431 in small. I have to say, it is the best mask I've ever used. I mean, that's not to say I don't have a list of cons to go along with the pros, but at it's best, it is the best I've had. This is it:

Another thing is, just because you've had a good experience in the past with a certain mask, doesn't mean one day it won't decide that it hates you. And that is actually what gave me the inspiration for this entry. I've always had some face marking with this mask, but usually they faded after I'd have the mask off for a while. Or they were at least easily covered with make up. Sometimes where the mask would sit would get a little dry, but it was nothing major. Then a few days ago I woke up like this:

Excuse the fact I look so sad... 
I was trying to not make my face crease so you can properly see the marks. 

The marks don't actually look as bad in that photo because of the lighting, but they were actually more red. The skin is very dry and coarse. And it felt tight, especially after it gets wet. I tried putting cream on it, and the next day it was worse and it was peeling like sun burn! Highly unattractive. Another problem is the fact the skin doesn't get a break. It would probably clear up faster if I didn't have to wear the mask every night. After this photo it actually spread more to under my chin as well. So I basically have a big red, dry, flakey triangle on my face. And all from a mask I usually would praise to no end! Now, that being said... I had washed my mask in something new, started using new moisturiser on my face and I've also been wearing make up more than usual and I guess therefore washing my face a little more thoroughly than usual. So while it's obviously where the mask is against my face, it could be a combination of things that has made this happen. I generally have very sensitive skin anyway, and the skin where my mask sits is probably even more fragile. 

Usually I wouldn't care too much, I'd just take care of it as much as possible and wait for it to go away. I'm used to this kind of stuff, because like I said I have very sensitive skin anyway. It's one of the reasons I self diagnosed the fact I have one of the collagen deficient Muscular Dystrophies (to be confirmed by a doctor though, obvs). But it's a lot more annoying when so obvious and right on my face! Still, that wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't for the fact it's my birthday this week, so I can't avoid going out in public unless I don't go out for my birthday. And I was looking forward to that. So fingers crossed it's eased my the weekend. I can't cover it with make up like I usually would because it's so dry, plus I'm afraid it might make it worse and just prolong it. So yeah, fingers crossed!

Anyway, the moral of the story is... things will never be perfect, but they'll always definitely be something. That makes sense, right? 

PS: Another positive aspect of wearing a ventilator at night, your cat is a lot less likely to suffocate you in your sleep. Pretty sure mine would have by now, to be honest. ...Accidentally, of course. 

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